5 Apr 2016

Carra raves: £40m 'genius' is Liverpool's best player over the 'last 18-months'. Agree?

Earlier this season, ex-Red Luis Suarez named Philippe Coutinho as his 'favourite player' in the Premier League, which, by extension, basically means Liverpool's best player. Many fans undoubtedly agree with the Uruguayan's assessment, including Reds legend Jamie Carragher, who insists that Coutinho is now one of country's best players.

Speaking to Sky Sports on Sunday, Carra raved:

"He [Coutinho] has been Liverpool's outstanding player for the last 18 months. He's now looking like one of the top players in the league".

Is Coutinho one of the 'top players in the league?

* Last Season: 14 goals/assists in 52 games (One every 292 minutes). By any standard, this is a poor return for a player with such prodigious talent.

* This Season: 15 goals/assists in 33 apps (One every every 167 mins). A significant (and welcome) improvement (in terms of minutes per goal/assist).

That said, I feel that Carra is getting a little carried away here. Coutinho is an exciting player to watch, but he's still some way behind comparable players in the league. Examples (in order of prolificity):

* De Bruyne: 30 goals/assists in 36 apps (One every 90 mins)

* Mahrez: 27 goals/assists in 33 apps (1 every 99 mins)

* Deulofeu: 16 goals/assists in 30 apps (1 every 104 mins)

* Payet: 23 goals/assists in 31 apps (1 every 113 mins)

* Ozil: 26 goals/assist in 39 apps (1 every 131 mins)

* Chadli: 12 goals/assists in 34 apps (1 every 136 mins)

* Tadic: 15 goals/assists in 34 apps (1 every 139 mins)

* Barkley: 22 goals/assists in 39 apps (1 every 152 mins)

* Hoolahan: 12 goals/assists in 27 apps (1 every 156 mins)

* Silva: 16 goals/assists in 32 apps (1 every 157 mins)

On the plus side, Coutinho's minutes per goals/assist ratio is superior to Eriksen (1 every 177 mins), Hazard (1 every 334 mins), and Pedro (1 every 211 mins), but the more concerning issue is chance creation:

* Coutinho is not among the top 20 chance-creators in the Premier League. In fact, Alberto Moreno is the only Liverpool player to crack the top 20 this season.

* Coutinho is also not in the top 20 for assists this year. Allegedly inferior players like Matt Richie, Wes Hoolahan, Marc Albrighton, and James Milner are in the top 20, but Coutinho is nowhere to be seen.

In my view, Liverpool fans have a tendency to overrate Coutinho, but that's hardly surprising when Klopp publicly describes him as a 'genius' (as has Carra in the past). If he's such a 'genius', why Coutinho not among the top ten attacking midfielders in the league for goals, assists, and chance-creation? If Payet - who is in his first season in the Prem - can contribute a goal/assist every 113 minutes, why can't Coutinho achieve similar stats?

This season represents a slight improvement for Coutinho, but I don't see how he can be considered one of the 'top players in the league' until his chance-creation improves exponentially, and his minutes per goals/assists ratio is comparable to the likes of De Bruyne, Mahrez, Payet, and Ozil.

Author: Jaimie K


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